Subject: Re: Mailing gifts home
Good Morning Lucy & Ziners:

Within the past 6 months I've mailed and had mailed packages from Denmark and Sweden to the US.

From Sweden, I had glassware sent as gifts to a couple of relatives. The store in Goteborg did not charge VAT on my purchases, but the airmail cost almost equaled the VAT I would have paid, so I only saved a few kroner. Mail was fast -- packages were received in about 10 days.

I'm not sure about Canada, but I was able to avoid US Customs hassles by marking each package "UNSOLICITED GIFT" and listing what the gift item was on the outside of the package. I think that only works if the gift is valued at $100US or less.

From Denmark, I mailed a package to myself (it was flatware -- not breakable -- so I trusted myself to pack it). It was less expensive, per kg, to mail from Denmark than Sweden, and the box arrived maybe a day or two faster, but that's probably because I live on the east coast and the gifts were sent to MO and KS. Again, I was able to avoid paying US duty applied to the package I sent to myself because its value was only $160US, less than the $200US exemption maximum. I wrote on the outside what was in the box and the US$ value, and included a copy of the receipt inside in case it was opened for inspection. Again, I'm not familiar with Canadian customs regulations, but I'm sure there's a website with all of the pertinent information.

By the way: the post office in Denmark had handy boxes available for sale at a reasonable (for Scandinavia) price. A booklet I've found handy in my travels abroad is "Know Before You Go," which is available from the US Customs website:

Sorry I don't have more information about Canadian import regulations.

Greg Davis Arlington, VA